It is the middle of the 21st century and in New Britain the behaviour and feelings of children are controlled by drugs, and by education without soul. Everyone is chilled and everywhere is plugged in. Everywhere, that is, except a remote island community called Rainbow Dreams. There the RD brothers and sisters choose freedom, the sea and earth, and to breathe air that is not disinfected. But what happens when the two worlds collide?
The story begins with Sam and Lia, two babies born at the same time in the same mainland hospital. Sam goes back to live on the island while Lia returns to live her bright white sanitised life and attend her hi-tech linegraded school. But the bond between them grows stronger with time, and when a dying horse brings Lia back to Rainbow Dreams it begins a series of events that bring conflict, betrayal and fear. Who or what is the biggest threat: the documentary film crew, the Department of Linegraded Education or the troubled but gorgeous Rory, whose fascination with Lia unsettles Sam as much as his aggression? There is a battle to fight, but can it be won?
Sue wrote SHUTDOWN because she believes that real education is creative, and that every child is an individual. She’s been delighted to support students studying the book in Y8. She wrote START years later because so many readers wanted to know what happened to Sam, Lia and Rory after this story finishes.
Recognise the cover image? It’s a painting by Magritte called The Fall. Maybe you can guess why Sue wanted it for her book.